Future Fuso in the making
Fuso Trucks Southern Africa is on a path to bigger and better things, having embarked on an ambitious drive to increase market share. GAVIN MYERS speaks to the team.
Ziyad Gaba, head of FUSO Trucks Southern Africa, has created a roadmap for the brand leading up to 2020, the destination of which is an overall market share of ten percent. This will require 60-percent growth from the brand’s current base – growth that he notes will not happen overnight.
However, he is resolute in his ambition and – with the full buy-in of the entire national FUSO team, which has so far been increased by 46 percent – things are already looking promising.
“FUSO is a results-oriented organisation. We want to see an increase in market share and parts penetration, growth in terms of service throughput and an expansion of the product range,” outlines Gaba.
Mpho Matseba, FUSO Trucks Southern Africa marketing manager, explains that ensuring the brand is top of mind among consumers is very important in achieving the overall goal.
“Brand awareness is the first step in creating more of a presence and ensuring we are visible. We have, therefore, invested heavily in the brand and created the new slogan ‘Simply Better Trucks’. This summarises the values we’ve defined and to which customers are accustomed – a full solution with complexity removed; a simplified process,” she says.
Linked to this aggressive marketing approach is a drive to improve customer service, the dealer network and market-segment penetration with the continued introduction of new models.
A trusted touchpoint
“We must ignite passion for the FUSO brand … it is important that, no matter what touchpoint they have with our brand, customers should enjoy the same positive experience,” notes Rowlands Peters, national sales manager at FUSO Trucks Southern Africa.
“While many of our customers are big groups of companies, many others are not logistics professionals – they are smaller operations that run vehicles as a necessary part of their business – and we need to make their lives as simple as possible,” he adds.
To improve customer experience, FUSO dealer management has been consolidated into a regional setup. According to Gaba, this ensures that they can be managed efficiently and that the people involved “speak FUSO”.
“Customer requirements are all different; FUSO customers want specific things, and offering full value starts at the first encounter,” says Gaba, who wants to increase the rate of first encounters. “A concerted effort is being made to meet new customers and build relationships through a key-account strategy,” he explains.
“Customer retention is also key,” explains Kgaogelo Sebothoma, service and technical manager. “Our key-account managers – with support from the dealer network – are dedicated to specific fleets, and see them on a monthly basis to improve relationships.”
So far, internally, the effort is paying off. FUSO has received a gold National Automotive Dealer Association award, while its customer service index is now up to 90 percent (far above targets for the year to date, says Sebothoma). Additionally, having more people in the services domain ensures that, in the event of a vehicle breaking down, customers are back on the road quickly.
“Dealers can be assured of the full commitment of the FUSO team, as well as our parent, Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa. They have our full backing to ensure they are successful. We really believe that we will achieve our objectives,” Gaba alludes, adding that the gold award is only the beginning…
Adapting to an evolving marketplace
Since the introduction of the Canter Lift in 2014, FUSO has introduced four new models to the South African market (that’s one a year), and this effort is set to continue as the brand pushes to fill gaps in its product portfolio.
(You can read about the latest – the Canter FE 4-130 – on the following page.)
“We have a variety of products as well as the knowledge about the applications to which they are best suited. The South African market is developing and its segments are evolving. While customers are still price sensitive, they are also demanding more value and higher levels of service,” Gaba remarks.
“We are listening to our customers and bridging the gap between simplicity and technology. This is what we aim to achieve through Simply Better Trucks,” he continues.
Matseba explains, for example, that there has been an increase in demand for self-shifting transmissions – such as FUSO’s own Duonic dual-wet-clutch transmission – in the medium commercial-vehicle segment.
“We are also seeing that features that previously were optional are now ‘must haves’. The market is still price sensitive, though, and we must offer the best package,” she says.
Peters adds that these features are also integral to the aim of reducing driver effort and increasing comfort in order to combat driver fatigue.
Taking FUSO to the future
Despite an overall tough 2017, FUSO Trucks Southern Africa managed to increase its market share year on year, and increase volume of parts sales and vehicles sold through dealers. This momentum is driving Gaba and his team.
“We have a clear, ambitious growth path. We know that it’ll be a challenging road; the market is not an easy space as there’s lots of strong competition, but we have a role to play and we’ll continue to remain positive.
“FUSO will focus mainly on the medium and heavy commercial-vehicle segments – and be seriously competitive. In the extra-heavy segment, we will fill a complementary role to our counterparts within Daimler Trucks and Buses South Africa,” Gaba says.
“Our team is dynamic, diverse and committed, which will give us an edge in the future. No matter what, though, we’ll always listen to our customers and provide the solutions they need,” he concludes.
It sounds like FUSO Trucks Southern Africa is heading in the right direction, as it follows that roadmap to 2020.